Talk about nailing the zeitgeist: Vertigo Comics brings the horrors of war home to disconnected America with two different works, THE OTHER SIDE and DMZ. While neither one is specifically about Iraq, it's nearly impossible to read them without considering our country's neo-con New World Order...

Peering into another senseless quagmire, the self-contained OTHER SIDE is a stunner of a comic. In fact, few war stories in any medium blend such horror with such a poetic humanization of the enemy. Newcomer Jason Aaron weaves a gripping Vietnam tale with two leads, Billy Everette and Vo Binh Dai, both rural boys swept into an incomprehensible conflict. As their paths inexorably cross in a war-ravaged hell, each experiences his own increasingly bizarre reality: Billy sees ghosts of dead American G.I.s, while his gun goads him toward violence; Vo Dai believes gods and dragons cross his path, spurring him to action.

As grippingly tragic as Aaron's tale is, artist Cameron Stewart elevates it to a higher level. Stewart and colorist Dave McCaig give us a comic both beautiful and dreadful to gaze upon. There's excellent material in the appendices, including photos and diary excerpts from Stewart's research trip to 21st century Vietnam. This book's so good, it deserves a hardcover edition on top-notch paper, but you won't go wrong with this paperback.

Click here for the full text, including a great review of Brian Wood's DMZ. Also, check out Wizard Magazine this month for an interview I did about RIPCLAW and SCALPED.


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